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Columbia church refurbishes old bikes, donates them

Volunteers with Downtown Church fix up used bicycles before donating them to Transitions Homeless Shelter and children in need.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Columbia church is making a difference in the community thanks to their very own bike shop. Volunteers are working to fix up bikes for kids and people in need for the holidays.

Downtown Church has its own version of "Santa's workshop" called the Rerun Bicycle Emporium, which is a place for volunteers to refurbish used bikes to then donate them.

"There are orphans where if we don’t do this, they’re not gonna get a bike,” said Doug Ryan, who runs the program.

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Ryan's passion for bikes started a long time ago. "I raced and rode and loved it but then... I had what wound up being five spinal surgeries,” said Ryan. 

After years of races, injuries forced Ryan to hang up his helmet. Now, he’s found a way to use his passion for the greater good.

"When the last surgery happened, I realized this was my calling," he said while pointing to the bikes under renovation. "So, if I couldn’t do it, I’d make it so other people can."

Pastor Lucas Jones explained that once the bikes are finished, the church donates them to Transitions Homeless Shelter and the Epworth Children's Home. 

"And to any kid who’s in need of a bike or wants one, especially this time of year for Christmas,” Jones added.

The bike shop runs year-round, donating about a hundred bikes a year.

"it’s both a way to help our neighbors but also it's good for the environment, so bikes don’t end up in landfills. They can keep making kids happy and keep helping people get around when they need to,” explained Jones.

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Rerun’s volunteers ramp up work during the holidays so children in need can get a special gift in time for Christmas. 

Downtown Church has information on how to volunteer and donate bikes on its website.  Those looking to give monetary donations that will help fund Rerun, can also do so on their website.

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